The interdisciplinary and multi-scale character of the planned TERENO activities demands a comprehensive and coordinated implementation process. Therefore an iterative procedure is intended, in which the first focus will be the monitoring of fluxes of water and matter representing basic indicators of changes in ecosystem functions since they are directly influenced by Global Change. Additionally, specific research complements will be integrated according to the core competences of the particular research centre, which can be extended in further project phases by including additional cooperation partners outside of the HGF (e.g. universities).

The interdisciplinary investigation of Global Change effects demands an adequate number of research sites with different characteristics and a sufficient replication in regions, which are already affected by Global Change or will sensitively react in foreseeable time, or in which extreme landscape changes take place. Therefore, in the framework of TERENO regional "terrestrial observatories" will be set up in selected and for Germany representative regions by integrating existing research stations and activities. These observatories will be equipped with a combination of in-situ measuring instruments and ground-based, airborne and satellite-borne remote sensing techniques.


The terrestrial observatories have to be operated on a long-term basis (at least for a decade), in order to facilitate the determination and quantification of environmental changes. Through cooperations with other networks the national observatory network will continuously extended in the following on a European and global level. For the first phase three regions in Germany have been identified:

  • Site A: The Eifel/Lower Rhine Valley Observatory (coordination: FZJ)
  • Site B: The Harz/Central German Lowland Observatory (coordination: UFZ)
  • Site C: The Bavarian Alps/pre-Alps Observatory (coordination: KIT and HMGU)
  • Site D: The German Lowland Observatory (coordination: GFZ)


Terrestrial Environmental Observatories









Northeast German Lowland Observatory

Coordination: GFZ



Harz / Central German Lowland Observatory

Coordination: UFZ



Eifel / Lower Rhine Valley Observatory

Coordination: FZJ



Pre-Alpine Observatory

Coordination: KIT

Northeast Central Lowerrhine Pre-alpine